TORONTO, ON - Feb 04 2013 — The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) has just released a comprehensive curriculum resource document that addresses a current shortage of teaching materials focused on the history, culture and issues facing First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. This is the latest in a series of five Common Threads resources produced by OSSTF/FEESO members. Each one tackles an important topic of social justice and is cross-curricular in nature.
Full Circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing consists of more than sixty classroom-ready lesson plans using a holistic teaching approach that honours traditional knowledge and Aboriginal values. An accompanying video profiles three First Nations youth, two Inuit teenagers and one young Métis woman. Each story offers a compelling insight into what it means to be young and Aboriginal in Canada today.
OSSTF/FEESO District 29, Hastings-Prince Edward member, Troy Maracle, is the Aboriginal Education Coordinator with the Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board and a Common Threads team member. Maracle, who is Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, commented, “As a First Nations educator, I am moved by the initiative that OSSTF/FEESO has taken to bridge a divide with this document. It is thorough, comprehensive and timely. I feel it will truly impress all those who take the time to explore its depth and breadth.”
OSSTF/FEESO District 27, Limestone member, Rocky Landon, teaches in an alternative education setting with the Limestone District School Board. Landon, who was instrumental in initiating, planning and creating the resource, affirmed that, “It’s important for all students to hear and understand the voices of Aboriginal peoples in their communities. As we developed this project, we worked to ensure that the voices from Aboriginal peoples were represented by the lessons. We, as members of the project, find it so.” Landon is an Ojibway from Wabigoon Lake First Nation, located in the heart of Northwestern Ontario.
OSSTF/FEESO president, Ken Coran, stated, “This project demonstrates the commitment of OSSTF/FEESO to providing high quality resources for our members that assist them in teaching the students of Ontario about important topics of equity, inclusiveness, and social justice.” He added, “This resource tackles the tough issues of land claims, treaties, residential schools, health of Aboriginal people, self-governance and the importance of maintaining and celebrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit identity and traditions. It fills a gap in resources for educators who are dedicated to integrating these topics into the current curriculum.”
Full Circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing has been distributed to all public high schools in Ontario with copies provided to community partners, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations. This resource is also available online, along with the previous four Common Threads projects at www.osstf.on.ca/commonthreads.
OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.